After the Altar Call: Women's Institution Building

Team Members/Contributors

Priscilla Pope-Levison Seattle Pacific University Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

The Progressive Era pulsed with the impetus for sweeping social change, for bold legislation, for audacious innovation. No less a transformation made its mark on the quintessential expression of American Christianity: revivalism. The salient change was this--a religion of lone itinerant preachers who had once wandered the continent became a phalanx of entrepreneurial institution-builders. And in a surprising eruption of progress, many of these institution-builders were women who founded churches, denominations, religious training schools, rescue homes, rescue missions, and evangelistic organizations. In fact, in an odd sort of historical irony, these women, even more than the colossal figures of Dwight L. Moody and Billy Sunday, demonstrate just how ingrained was the impulse during the Progressive Era to build religious institutions. Institutions in the nation’s nooks and crannies, like Mother Lee’s rescue home in Omaha, Nebraska, and Mattie Perry’s Elhanan Training School in Marion, North Carolina, demonstrate this project’s thesis that these women reshaped American Christianity during the Progressive Era from itinerant to institutional revivalism. This thesis occupies the centerpiece of a book-length project, titled “After the Altar Call: Women’s Institution Building.”

Image Title Year Type Contributor(s) Other Info
Building the Old Time Religion 2014 Book Priscilla Pope-Levison